December 4th, 2012
09:11 PM ET
7 years ago

Ryan encourages GOP to focus on the future in first major post-election speech

(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan urged his party to advance a forward-looking vision in his first high-profile speech since his failed bid for the White House alongside Mitt Romney.

The Wisconsin Republican also acknowledged that that he and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who would speak at the dinner and receive an award, are seen as 2016 presidential contenders themselves.

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Related: Rubio suggests ways to bridge 'opportunity gap'

"Know any good diners in Iowa or New Hampshire?" he asked Rubio at the beginning of his remarks. "I'm sure the press won't read too much into that."

In his remarks, Rubio replied, "I will not stand by and let the people of South Carolina be ignored."

At the Jack Kemp Foundation's award dinner, Ryan encouraged his party to find a "vision for bringing opportunity into every life - one that promotes strong families, secure livelihoods and an equal chance for every American to fulfill their highest aspirations for themselves and their children." That vision, he said, includes roles for government, private groups and free enterprise.

As he did in post-election interviews with local television stations, the former vice presidential candidate stood by the race he and Romney ran.

"Though I wish this election had turned out differently, I'm proud of the campaign Mitt Romney and I ran. He would have been a great president, and it would have been an honor to serve this country at his side," Ryan said.

"We gave this race our all, and I'm grateful for the nomination. It's thrilling when your team trusts you with the ball, and it's humbling when you advance the ball as far as you can, only to come up a little short."

He noted that President Barack Obama was returning to the White House facing "a stagnant economy and a fiscal mess." Obama has said he inherited some economic problems from his predecessor, President George W. Bush, and Ryan joked, "You might even say he'll inherit these problems."

Pointing to the Republicans' retention of their majority in the U.S. House, where he was re-elected, Ryan called on his party not to "spend the next four years on the sidelines."

But he also could be seen as distancing himself from some of Romney's controversial comments, in particular, that Obama had won by offering "gifts" to certain groups, and that 47% of voters were predisposed to vote against his candidacy. Both comments, made in private conversations with donors, drew criticism.

"Both parties tend to divide Americans into 'our voters' and 'their voters,' " Ryan said. "But Republicans must steer far clear of that trap. We must speak to the aspirations and anxieties of every American. I believe we can turn the engines of upward mobility back on, so that no one is left out from the promise of America. But it's going to require a bold departure from the approach that government has taken for the last five decades."

Ryan received the foundation's leadership award last year, and Rubio is the 2012 recipient. The award honors the late conservative congressman, cabinet secretary and GOP vice presidential nominee.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2016 • Paul Ryan
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Ancient Texan

    If the next two years are as great as the last four of Obama's reign, then 2014 and 2016 will be like 2010 elections..GOP control

    December 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Similar12313- You mean renounce our faith, shuck all of our ethics and principles? That would just provide the voters with two identical parties.

    December 5, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Seattle11

    Ryan is a the joke, I am still laughing about Ryan and his running mate losing to President Obama.

    December 5, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. rs

    Ancient Texan-
    And you base that fantasy on...?
    The trend is, how shall we say it, downwards for the GOP/TEA Party?

    December 5, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Really?

    LOL! The sad part, is that we live among fools here in the U.S.A. There will be LOTS of support for Ryan. The dumb dumbs just can't get enough.

    December 5, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. Larry in Houston

    @ Ancient Texan – surely you jest, regarding your dates – 2014 will be much like a landslide, like november 6th 2012.

    It will be under dem control. You won't be able to re-gain your party til 2024 – count on it.

    December 5, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Ling

    Its going to be a hard next couple of years for the lower to middle class and that blame lays on the shoulders of Obama. His vision for the country has been terrible for the last four years and I think we are about to go over the cliff which is going to hurt millions. People like me who have been fortunate to save and have great jobs will most likely not even take pay cuts but alot a people are about to lose jobs and do not have the resource to weather the storm.

    December 5, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Strategic Bob

    Ryan wants the GOP to adopt a forward looking vision for the future? from where he stands, the darkest of the Dark Ages would actually be a futuristic vision.

    December 5, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. snowdogg

    Paul Ryan, give it a rest! Ever heard of "election fatigue"?

    December 5, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Larry in Houston

    @ Ancient Texan – surely you jest, regarding your dates – 2014 will be much like a landslide, like november 6th 2012.

    It will be under dem control. You won't be able to re-gain your party til 2024 – count on it.

    December 5, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. marinedad05


    After a thorough defeat, Ryan was hiding with his tail between his legs. The colossal election loss seems to be wearing off, and he's back again, joking and distancing himself from himself and Romney.

    What else can one expect?

    December 5, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. roro

    Don't even think about a run for the presidency, Mr. Ryan. You haven't got a snowball's chance in hell.

    December 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  13. Facts don't Lie

    The Republicans have not only alienated Latinos, Blacks, gays, young women,and some seniors after yesterday they added the disabled to their list as well. Some future you guys got there Ryan.

    December 5, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. rs

    Ancient Texan-

    "Ethics and Principles"? What ethics or principles? The GOP has none. Witness the unilateral defeat of the UN Disabled Rights Treaty yesterday by the GOP in the Senate. What's next- coming out in favor of a "final Solution"?

    December 5, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. PartOf

    I fear our representatives will take us over the cliff and 60% of Americans expect it. We no longer believe that "Americans for Prosperity" want to negotiate they want to destroy. Florida??? I live in Florida and it is unbelievable between "stand your ground," voter suppression, lack of jobs, and conspiracy theories over nonsense.

    My family has served in the military; from being a commander on an air force base military police to my nephew severing in Afghanistan. The U.N. Disabilities was a bi-partisan issue, until Sanatorium a non-elected official became against and RUBIO voted the same.

    I don't understand "why" our elected officials really do not look at the good of the country first and foremost, this vote is morally wrong.

    No-one elected lobbyist, Norquist and ex-Presidential candidate Rick Santorium to make decisions. But their voices are heard more than the constituents. It was sad what happened to Bob Dole on the senate floor.

    December 5, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. Wake up People!


    You're so funny! What's the weather like up there on your planet?? The way the GOP has treated EVERYONE for the past few years, they will be lucky to get elected Dog Catcher. (Maybe not Mitt though)

    Btw, keep em coming PLEASE! You're almost as funny as Sarah Palin and laughter IS the best medicine!

    December 5, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. A. Castillo

    Run, Paul, run. We,Democrats, would love another four years in the White House.

    December 5, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Expat American

    Forward looking vision? You can start by not continuing to speak in front of an audience of angry white people (who, for some reason, are often times people from the 'poor to middle class 47%' – but Republican). That demographic dinosaur won't be ready for the ice age that's coming in the next 20 years as the nation changes for the better 🙂

    Paul Ryan, and his Republican Tea Party Base are determined to put rape victims in prison. He will run on this platform in 2016 – without anyone standing in his way.

    December 5, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Chuck

    We will be a third world country by the next election

    December 5, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Andrew

    Take his joke serious folks, he will return not really better but touting real change.

    December 5, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. phearis

    Pssssssst .... Hey Paul ..... come here. Hey bud, let me let you in on a little secret. Now don't tell anyone but the Tea Party is falling apart because everyone in the US is finally seeing that you guys are, NUTS! And ... how do I say this nicely but ... you're a Compulsive Lying Sociopath and everyone knows it. Sorry but you have as much chance at being President as Sarah "I Quit Being Governor Because It Got Hard" Palin. 🙂

    December 5, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Ryan managed to fool the Republicans that he is their "brain child" but he couldn't fool voters with his "Ryan Budget Plan", we're way smarter than Ryan. Furthermore, I've never heard President Obama brag about receiving the "Noble Peace Prize", he let others do it for him, but here's Ryan bragging about the award he and Rubio will receive. When a person has to brag that tells me a lot about their so-called character, nobody likes a bragger.

    December 5, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. California Gary

    Here's GOP "ethics and principles" for you: Bob Dole thought that treaty vote yesterday was so important he had himself wheeled into the chamber to show support for it's passage. One by one, GOP senators walked by him and paid homage........and then went over and voted no. Their fear of the Tea Party was greater than their sense of doing what was right. How they could look Dole in the eye and then vote against the treaty is beyond my comprehension. Ethics? Principles? Not hardly.......

    December 5, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Max

    Ryan has a good future. Obama is nothing more than an empty suit without the in the bag media or an ever dependent electorate. At some point we will run out of money and someone is going to have solutions and we all know that is not Obama. The con game of delaying, ignoring debt and any spending constraints will eventually land on our shores with some ugly results.

    December 5, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Larry L

    @Ancient Texan

    If the next two years are as great as the last four of Obama's reign, then 2014 and 2016 will be like 2010 elections..GOP control
    How well did that "GOP control" work out? I recall 33 votes to try and repeal Obamacare – but nothing offered as a replacement idea. There were at least 15 votes about "personhood" – more radical evangelical crap. Nothing serious about jobs or to actually help the middle class. That "control" was (and still is) a giant failure!

    December 5, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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